While reed and float switches have established themselves as highly sensitive and therefore reliable, diaphragm switches are a new phenomenon which is beginning to challenge the hegemony of the older reed and float switches. Little Giant 6-CIA 1/3 Horsepower Submersible Sump Pump draws on this new technology, and combines it with state of the art building materials and a plethora of attractive features to offer a product that appears well rounded on paper.
However, users of older brands like Zoeller or Wayne might well question the ability of a comparatively new brand like Little Giant, and a new technology like the diaphragm switch. Therefore, it is imperative to analyze this product in detail to decide whether it truly belongs to the ranks of the best sump pumps available in the market today.
- Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 10.5 x 9.4 inches
- Product Weight: 13 pounds
- Type: Submersible Sump Pump
- Decent 17’ maximum head
- Motor: 1/3 HP, 115V, 50/60Hz
- Power: 45 gallons per minute/ 2700 gallons per hour
- Warranty: 1 year
The Little Giant 6-CIA 1/3 Horsepower Submersible Sump Pump comes with a limited one year warranty, which is slightly lower than what some of the competitors offer.
- Small and compact architecture
- High quality epoxy coated cold rolled steel motor housing
- Motor housing has polycarbonate cover for easy servicing at home
- Cast iron impeller for durable and efficient functionality
- Motor housing is filled with oil for lifelong lubrication of the motor
- Decently powerful 1/3HP motor with 2700 gallons per hour capacity at 0’ head
- Decent 17’ maximum head for wide adaptability
- Durable and wide handle
- High precision diaphragm switch
- Power cord could have been longer
- Warranty is lower than that of some competitors
- Diaphragm switch difficult to test without actual sump conditions
Build Quality and Design
At first sight, the Little Giant 6-CIA 1/3 Horsepower Submersible Sump Pump appears to be significantly smaller than the average sump pump. The reason for its compactness is that the height required for the float switch to operate is eliminated courtesy of the much smaller diaphragm switch, which sits alongside the motor housing.
This also eliminates the risk of an air pocket developing between the float and discharge, and thereby allows the discharge to be flatter and smaller. Finally, the sump pump has been provided with a set of short legs that serve to raise the product slightly for unimpeded impeller movement.
Thankfully, this compact body is made of extremely high quality materials. The motor housing is made of cold rolled steel, which has been proved to be as effective as cast iron in defending the delicate internal components of the pump from the pressure of the water in the sump. Further, the housing comes with a layer of epoxy paint which guarantees immunity against corrosion.
The housing is connected to other vital parts using premium stainless steel screws, while the base is made of tough polypropylene. Together, they ensure that the sump pump retains its integrity and stability even under extreme water pressure and/or rapid movement of debris in the sump.
Major External Parts (Discharge, Power Cord and Handle)
As mentioned above, the Little Giant 6-CIA 1/3 Horsepower Submersible Sump Pump does not require a tall and bulky discharge, and therefore, we find Little Giant including a short 1-1/2” NPT discharge, which ensures that while most standard PVC pipes can connect without difficulty, the discharge is never responsible for adding bulk or weight to the pump structure.
The power cord is fully sealed, and therefore capable of being submerged without difficulty. Indeed, Little Giant has connected it directly to the switch assembly, which helps reduce the size of the sump pump further. However, a few users complained that the 10’ power cord was surprisingly not capable of reaching distant outlets since the short size of the product and the curved design at the intersection of cord and pump ensured that a substantial portion of the cord was wasted in the pump itself, leaving insufficient amount of cord for connection to power outlets at the other end of the basement.
As our best sump pump reviews have shown, though the handle isn’t the most vital of pump components, having a large handle can make lifting and lowering the pump a much easier task. Thankfully, the product offers a durable stainless steel handle that stretches across the top diameter of the motor housing, making it ideal for being used as a means of raising and lowering the pump.
Motor and Sealing
The Little Giant 6-CIA 1/3 Horsepower Submersible Sump Pump comes with a 1/3HP motor which is the standard for this price range. More vitally, it is capable of pumping out 45 gallons per minute, or 2700 gallons per hour, which is marvelous considering the size of this sump pump. The secret behind this excellent output may lie in the fact that the motor housing is oil filled and therefore, ensures lifelong lubrication for the motor contained within.
Further sweetening the deal is the fact that the pump has a maximum head of 17’, which is decent in any price bracket. Lastly, unlike a number of other sump pumps, the motor is user serviceable (within limits of course), by means of a removable but sturdy polycarbonate top cover, attached to the motor housing by means of stainless steel joints.
Like all good sump pumps, the motor of the product is hermetically sealed using a hybrid seal with carbon and ceramic faces. This ensures that there is no possibility of leakage of the oil into the sump, or water into the pump.
Impeller and Switch
The product, like the Wayne ESP25 Battery Back Up Sump Pump, offers a specially designed cast iron impeller that carries out the dual functions of effectively channeling water and protecting itself and the base of the pump from large/sharp pieces of debris that may be floating around in the sump.
The switch, as we mentioned in the introduction, is a diaphragm switch. As water rises, it exerts pressure on the diaphragm. When the water exerts pressure above a certain point, the diaphragm activates the switch and through it, the motor.
Given its high precision sensors, the diaphragm switch on the Little Giant 6-CIA 1/3 Horsepower Submersible Sump Pump offers extremely accurate responses to changes in water level, while the durable plastic construction ensures that even under very high pressure, the diaphragm does not break. However, some users complained that the diaphragm switch was difficult to test with the hand, unlike float switches, which can simply be raised to initiate a dry run.
A number of customers were skeptical about the new diaphragm switch system, but after using the product they became convinced that Little Giant has done a great job in providing a well designed, responsive and highly versatile product at an affordable price. The well oiled motor and the powerful impeller attracted especial praise, though many also mentioned the utility of the pump handle.
A few users complained of low warranty, though they admitted that they had no reason to avail this warranty or take the product to the service centre even after the warranty expired, since the product continued to offer sterling performance for years. Finally, few people associated with plumbing sales companies complained that the diaphragm switch could not be demonstrated to users, though actual users never had this issue since the switch worked fine in the sump.
The Little Giant 6-CIA 1/3 Horsepower Submersible Sump Pump may be using comparatively newer technology, but the attention Little Giant has given to the product ensures that it comes off as one of the best products in any price range. Combining the high quality materials that are the hallmark of its competitors with an innovative technology and still managing to maintain a compact form factor is no mean achievement.
Indeed, this more than compensates for the few shortcomings (such as warranty and power cord length) that have been reported. All in all, this product is a great choice for anyone who is seeking a small but powerful and highly efficient sump pump in the $100-150 price bracket.